Grad Students

Susila Gurusami



Contact Information

Email    susila.gurusami@ucla.edu
Office  Not Available

In Deprivation and Depravation: Moral Policing of Formerly Incarcerated Black Women, I use 18 months of ethnographic observations and participatory-action methods to investigate how Black women navigate their everyday lives after prison or jail. Across each topical chapter, I broadly argue that the state frames the criminal rehabilitation of formerly incarcerated Black women as a moral imperative to achieve independence from the state, yet post-release state practices of surveillance, control, and punishment undermine such an outcome. State agents ascribe the consequential struggles that Black women experience during reentry to these women’s moral failings and personal shortcomings.

By merging a spatial analysis with intersectionality theory, my dissertation intervenes in timely sociological debates on the relationship between race, gender, surveillance, and democracy. The core of this project asks how disenfranchised people negotiate and make claims of national belonging and personhood against legalized state claims of their moral irredeemability. By conceiving of the prison as a moving conceptual and legal apparatus, I unpack how the racialized and gendered logics that undergird “the prison” travel and transform across physical and ideological space. This framing contributes to literatures on the sociology of space, citizenship, morality, and claims-making while making a case for the methodological and theoretical value of centralizing intersectionality within sociology.

For more on my work, please visit www.susilagurusami.com or watch this YouTube video.

Fields of Study

Carceral Studies, Race, Class, and Gender, Urban Studies, Qualitative Methods, Reproductive Politics, Medical Sociology

Publications

Revise and Resubmit Manuscripts

2016   Gurusami, Susila. “Motherwork Under the State: The Maternal Labor of Formerly Incarcerated Black Women,” Social Problems.

*Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award, ASA Race, Class, Gender Section 

2016    Gurusami, Susila. “Working for Redemption: Formerly Incarcerated Black Women and Punishment in the Labor Market.” Gender & Society.

Other Publications

2014    Gurusami, Susila. “Picturing Freedom: Using Photovoice to Represent Black Women’s Experiences after Incarceration,” Center for the Study of Women Newsletter.

Grants and Awards

2016    Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award, ASA Race, Gender, and Class Section

2016    Fellowship, Dissertation Year Award, UCLA

2016    Fellowship, Paula Stone Legal Research Dissertation Award, Center for the Study of Women, UCLA 

2015    Fellowship, Department of Sociology, UCLA 

2015    Dissertation Launchpad Scholar, UCLA 

2014    Predoctoral Fellowship, Institute of American Cultures, Bunche Center for African American Studies, UCLA 

2014    Travel Grant, Department of Sociology, UCLA

2014    Excellence in Teaching Award, Department of Sociology, UCLA

2014    Teaching Grant, Office of Instructional Development, UCLA

2014    Finalist, Rishwain Social Justice Entrepreneurship Award, UCLA

2013    Excellence in Teaching Award, Department of Sociology, UCLA

2013    Grant, Institute of American Cultures, Bunche Center for African American Studies, UCLA 

2013    Fellowship, Constance Coiner Award for Research, Teaching, and Activism, Center for the Study of Women, UCLA 

2012    Excellence in Teaching Award, Department of Sociology, UCLA

2012    Fellowship, Graduate Division, UCLA 

2011    Chancellor’s Prize, UCLA

2010    Chancellor’s Prize, UCLA 

2009    Fellowship, Department of Sociology, UCLA

2009    Predoctoral Fellowship in Gender, Sexuality, and Health, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University (declined) 

Conference Presentations

2016    “Motherwork Under the State: The Maternal Labor of Formerly Incarcerated Black Women,” American Sociological Association Annual Conference, August 21-25

2016    “Working for Redemption: Formerly Incarcerated Black Women and Punishment in the Labor Market,” Society for the Study of Social Problems Annual Conference, August 19-21

2014    “’I Came Back to Life’: Black Women’s Experiences of Social Life and Death After Incarceration,” American Sociological Association Annual Conference, August 16-19

2014    “Picturing Freedom: Using Photovoice to Represent Black Women’s Experiences after Incarceration,” Thinking Gender Annual Graduate Conference, February 7

2014    “Boys and Girls in White: Gendered Inequality in Medical School,” Susan B. Anthony Institute Annual Conference, March 1-2

Advisors

Vilma Ortiz (co-chair)

Abigail Saguy (co-chair)

Stefan Timmermans

Sarah Haley (Gender Studies)

Mignon Moore (Barnard College)

 

 

Collaborators

Professor Bryonn Bain, African American Studies

Degrees

C.Phil in Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles 2014

M.A. in Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles 2011

B.A. in Sociology (with honors), University of Michigan 2009